Emanuel Reaching Out To Chicago Clergy

CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel was back in the neighborhoods on Wednesday, vowing to keep the promises he made during his campaign.

Emanuel met with representatives of faith-based organizations at a McKinley Park café and came away with what he’s calling new ideas and renewed hope.

CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports that there seemed to be a good deal of optimism on both sides.

Several pastors said they were hopeful that Emanuel will put his money where his mouth is once he takes office.

“It is our hope that what he has shared today will actually take place, but he challenged us to be partners in this,” Rev. Tyrone Crider said. “So it’s not just on Mayor Emanuel, it’s on all of us.”

Crider is a longtime, well-respected community activist and just one of the church leaders seated around the table, as Emanuel promised not lose touch with the people who’d helped elect him.

Emanuel said his goal is to figure out “How do we make sure this is a not a periodic communication but a permanent one.”

What he found was a group willing to listen; encouraged, but also wary as to whether he would act on suggestions such as re-establishing a board of clergy members to help deal with public safety issues.

“He’s interested in listening to it and getting involved with that. But as far as saying what is gonna happen, I don’t know as yet,” Rev. Leonard DeVille said.

Emanuel noted that former Chicago Police Supt. Fred Rice established a similar board under the late Mayor Harold Washington.

“Superintendent Rice had established it, Los Angeles is doing it today, so I said that’s something I want to look into,” Emanuel said.

Dr. Joann Long said she believed Emanuel’s discussion with them was “not just words.”

“I did hear in him such an open-mindedness and a desire to truly connect and sustain that connection,” she said.

The meeting follows a pattern established right after the election, reaching out to both friends and foes, from the firefighters union who’d endorsed a rival, to longtime City Council powerhouse, Ald. Ed Burke (14th), who endorsed Emanuel rival Gery Chico.

“We don’t want a rubber stamp City Council. We don’t want Council War. I want a council that will be part of the reform agenda and I want be a partner in that effort,” Emanuel said.

The irony is that the continuing effort to connect with others comes on the same day a Washington Post article talked about Emanuel’s successor in Washington, Bill Daley, having to spend all his time doing damage control.

Citing two unnamed Obama administration officials, the Washington Post reported that Cabinet secretaries complained that the only calls that came from Emanuel were to complain when things went wrong, rather than connect.

  • lotsoflaughs

    If you haven’t checked out this blog yet you should. It’s full of some funny stories and is all clean stuff. I’m hoping to get more readers in hopes of publishing someday. I need all the help I can get and so if you like it please tell family and friends about it. http://www.jaredslighterside.blogspot.com

  • rick

    Though I applaud the mayors efforts I caution the use of religious groups in the afican american community. Over the last 20 or 30 years these same groups have been in “control” of the social, political, and economic life of these same communities.
    Where were these men when our communities were under assult by the mortgage companies, and the many other ills that have plauged us. Most of them don’t beleive in plurilism which is the foundation of the constitution. Have little or no business training in the private sector, but are consulted about business issues. I also beleive that it is time for the Afican American community to come from up under these non-elected religious figures. After all if the last election has shown us anything is that the old ways of doing black business is fadding and new voices must be heard to help solve the black problems.

  • Mr spock

    I wish our mayor could reach out to rational people instead of superstitious so-called ‘leaders”.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Weather Reports Delivered To You!SIGN UP NOW: Get daily weather reports every morning from meteorologist Steve Baskerville!
CBS Sports Radio RoundupGet your latest sports talk from across the country.

Listen Live